Reading Connection Newsletter

March 2015
Read-aloud favorites
■ Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows
in the Bronx (Jonah Winter)
This picture-book biography describes the life of
the first Latin American
woman on the U.S.
Supreme Court. As a little
girl, Sonia Sotomayor faced poverty
and illness, but she worked hard in
school and had a loving, supportive
family. Written in both English and
Spanish on each page.
■ Hide and Sheep (Andrea Beaty)
In this silly counting book, a farmer
is trying to round
up his uncooperative sheep.
They’ve escaped
into town and
are doing goofy things like posing in
an art museum or going to the beach.
How will the farmer ever find all of
his sneaky sheep?
■ Subway Story (Julia Sarcone-Roach)
Jessie, a cheerful blue subway car, is
proud of her job carrying people to
work and school. When she “retires,”
she gets another cool job—she is
sunk into the ocean to become
an artificial reef for sea creatures.
Includes an author’s note with information about how old subway cars
are recycled into reefs.
■ The Farmer and the Clown
(Marla Frazee)
In this wordless picture book, a baby
clown falls off a circus train and is
rescued by a farmer. Using the beautiful pictures and his
own imagination, your
child can tell the
story that he sees as
he turns the pages.
© 2015 Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Incorporated
Prospect Point Elementary School
Be a critical reader
“I wonder what that character is
thinking.” “Hmm, how did the author
pick the setting for this story?” Critical
readers think about things like this
when they read. These activities
can help your youngster practice
reading critically at home.
Hold imaginary conversations
If Peter Rabbit could chat with
Curious George, what would he say?
What would a conversation between
Miss Frizzle and Encyclopedia Brown
sound like? Read two books with your
child. Then, each of you should pick a
character to be, and carry on a conversation. Idea: Suggest that your youngster
use what he knows about the characters
(Peter and George tend to get into trouble) to predict what they’ll discuss (ways
to stay out of trouble).
Switch the setting
Encourage your youngster to think
about how a book’s plot and setting are
related. Read a story to him, and have
him draw a picture of a new setting for it.
Maybe he’ll draw Encyclopedia Brown
solving a mystery in a desert or on a
cruise ship instead of in the town of
Idaville. Idea: Ask him to retell the story
to you using the new location. He will see
how changing the setting affects the story.
Know the author
Let your child get several books by
the same author. As you read them
together, talk about what they have in
common. (“The main character in all of
her books is an animal.”) What can your
youngster guess about the author based
on her books? For example, she probably likes animals, and maybe she has
pets or has lived on a farm. Idea: Look
up an author online or read the “About
the Author” section in a book to learn
about her life.♥
Our family dictionary
w From A to Z, this homemade dictionary celebrates family members’ personalities and
favorite things — and lets your child work on
writing definitions.
Help her think of a word for each letter of the
alphabet that has something to do with your family (active, spaghetti, zoo).
Together, come up with a unique definition for each word. Then, help her write it
on an index card (or write it for her), and let her illustrate it. Example: “Spaghetti:
Our family’s favorite food.”
She might do a few each day. When her dictionary is complete, she should
check that the cards are in ABC order. Then, hole-punch the top left corner of
each one, and connect them with a binder ring or yarn.♥
March 2015 • Page 2
Planning to write
possible. Visualizing
what will happen can
make writing easier.
And working out the
details first may lead
to more descriptive
characters, settings,
and plots.
Getting ready to write can be as important
as writing! Encourage your youngster to
think first with these ideas.
Talk. Talking through her ideas will help
your child organize her thoughts. Listen as
she explains, and ask questions to guide
her. For example, “What will happen
next?” Tip: Offer advice when she wants it,
but avoid criticizing her ideas or telling her
what to write.
Diagram. Have your
youngster create a
graphic organizer. She
could make a story
map, with her title in a
bubble in the middle of
her paper. Then, she can draw lines to smaller bubbles all
around the large one and sketch or write a plot event in each
one. Or she might divide a sheet of paper into four boxes
labeled “Characters,” “Setting,” “Problem,” and “Solution”
and fill them in.♥
Draw. Suggest that she draw and color a
picture of her ideas with as many details as
Letters good
enough to eat
Your child can eat his way to letter
recognition with this tasty treat.
Together, mix up dough for your
favorite biscuit, bread, or cookie recipe.
Let your youngster roll small pieces of
the dough into
long, thin,
pieces. Show
him how to
form the
pieces into
the shapes of
letters. He probably will want to start
with the letters in his
name. Then, bake the
dough according to the recipe.
When the letters cool, he could move
them around to form words —and then
eat his words! Can your child tell you
the names of the letters he made? What
about their sounds?♥
To provide busy parents with practical ways
to promote their children’s reading, writing,
and language skills.
Resources for Educators,
a division of CCH Incorporated
128 N. Royal Avenue • Front Royal, VA 22630
540-636-4280 • [email protected]
ISSN 1540-5648
© 2015 Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Incorporated
Read the directions
Whether your youngster is taking a test or
putting together a toy, reading the instructions
can help her do a better job. Share these tips.
1. Read carefully. Encourage her to read the
instructions all the way to the end. She’ll get an
overview of what she has to do.
2. Take it step by step. Your child could circle key words like subtract, underlin
or discard. She should reread any part that confuse
needs it.
3. Refer back. If your youngster is doing a school assignment, suggest that
glance back at the instructions as she works. If she’s putting up a play tent,
might reread each step before she does it and check it off when it’s finished
Choosing books I can read
Q How can I tell if the
books my son picks at the library are at
the right reading level for him?
A “Just right” books — ones that aren’t
too easy or too hard — help your son
stretch his reading ability. These are
books in which he can easily read
about 95 percent of the words,
leaving him with just a few
to figure out.
Don’t worry, there’s
no need to get out your
calculator. Simply listen
to him read, and if he
seems comfortable and
struggles only occasionally, the book
is probably at what teachers call his
“instructional level.” This is the level
that teaches him new words without
making him frustrated or confused.
After he reads a just-right book a few
times, it may even become an easy one!
It’s good for your son to
pick out easy and hard
books, too. Easy books are
relaxing and enjoyable.
And reading hard ones
aloud to him will expose
him to bigger words and
more complex plots.♥